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  #1  
Old 02-03-2011, 08:07 PM
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Default How to get Tru Oil to dry?

I'm working on a pair of stocks I bought from a member here recently, and am finishing them in Tru Oil. The stuff is easy to apply and looks nice, but I'm finding it difficult to get it to cure. It dries to touch soon enough, but getting it to harden seems to take far longer than I feel that it should. One of the pros here told me that he will set his grips on his furnace in the winter to help it along, and I've been setting mine under a clamp light for around half an hour at a time, which heats the grip to probably a hundred degrees or so.

I thought I would see if there were other ideas from those of you who are experienced with the stuff. I may just be too impatient; but I have to use the reloading bench to do this job, and I need that space to begin loading again soon. At the rate things are going, it will be May before that happens.

Thanks for your time and contributions, as always.
Andy
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:20 PM
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I put a couple of drops of japan drier in each ounce of boiled linseed oil that I use for oiling stocks. It dries completely in a day or two as opposed to a week or more without it. I don't see why it would not work with just about any other finish oil.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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Hello. I use a hair dryer to help things along. It takes about three or four days to be useable as a grip safely. I now use Formby's tung oil, which involves several coats to get exactly the shine that you want. Sitting them on a window ledge in the direct sunlight will also help. the main thing is don't get in a hurry, and find an out-of-the-way place to let them cure. Window ledges are the best for me, particularly if there are drapes or some other window treatments that will hold the heat, and not hold humidity. Now, put 98 cents with what I just told you and you will have a dollar!
Good Luck!
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:38 PM
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I never could get Tru Oil to dry on a pair of rosewood grips I was making from a blank. I finally stripped off the Tru Oil and wiped the wood surface with paint thinner to get rid of the surface oil. After reapplying the TruOil, it dryed in a short time. I really don't know much about wood refinishing, so not sure this is a really good thing to do. It just worked for me on the one pair of rosewood grips.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:48 PM
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I usually wait until the weather has very low humidity then apply the Tru-Oil and set the item under a light as you are doing. It does take a few days, even with low humidity, but I think that low humidity is the key.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:14 AM
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I no longer use Tru-Oil. Don't like the "plastic" finish although I never had any problem with it drying.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:47 AM
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Are you trying to put Tru-oil on cocobolo or some other type of rosewood? Wood in this tropical hardwood family is very oily. My experience is that Tru-oil remains a bit tacky when applied to these woods for a long time. You can try soaking the grips in acetone to remove all of the original finish and leech out as much of the natural oil as you can. Better yet is to seal the wood with a clear shellac. This seals in the oil and the Tru-oil will dry properly. Cocobolo and the like are usually finished with lacquer. Lacquer dries fast, but is not a very durable finish.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:16 AM
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Are you using a very thin coat? I generally apply with my index finger, almost rubbing it in, and it takes about a day to dry, maybe occasionally a little longer. I use only enough so that my finger can slide, rather than stick to the grip while applying. To give some indication, I can apply nearly half a dozen coats before the finish even approaches glossy (which may be farther than you or I would want to go, anyway).
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8emem View Post
I put a couple of drops of japan drier in each ounce of boiled linseed oil that I use for oiling stocks. It dries completely in a day or two as opposed to a week or more without it. I don't see why it would not work with just about any other finish oil.
Had this same problem and this is exactly what Birchwood-Casey told me to do over the phone. I did just that and it worked perfectly. They said that after it sits a while the drier kinda leaves it and is not as effective. Or he said it never got quiet enough added during manufacturing. Japan Drier is the key and you should be able to finish the stocks in a day or so if the Tru-Oil is right.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdan View Post
Are you trying to put Tru-oil on cocobolo or some other type of rosewood? Wood in this tropical hardwood family is very oily. My experience is that Tru-oil remains a bit tacky when applied to these woods for a long time. You can try soaking the grips in acetone to remove all of the original finish and leech out as much of the natural oil as you can. Better yet is to seal the wood with a clear shellac. This seals in the oil and the Tru-oil will dry properly. Cocobolo and the like are usually finished with lacquer. Lacquer dries fast, but is not a very durable finish.

I'm virtually certain that this wood is American Black Walnut.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by msinc View Post
Had this same problem and this is exactly what Birchwood-Casey told me to do over the phone. I did just that and it worked perfectly. They said that after it sits a while the drier kinda leaves it and is not as effective. Or he said it never got quiet enough added during manufacturing. Japan Drier is the key and you should be able to finish the stocks in a day or so if the Tru-Oil is right.

I've not heard of Japan Drier before. Where can I get some?
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:45 PM
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The light is helping to some degree. On the previous coat I didn't use it, and it took nearly a week before I could no longer smell the Tru Oil on the stock. On this coat I used the light treatment, and the smell is gone after a day and a half or so.

Andy
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:19 PM
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You can get Japan drier at Home Depot in the paint department.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:19 PM
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Put the stock in the sun. The UV light hardens up Tru Oil very quickly.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rck281 View Post
I never could get Tru Oil to dry on a pair of rosewood grips I was making from a blank. I finally stripped off the Tru Oil and wiped the wood surface with paint thinner to get rid of the surface oil. After reapplying the TruOil, it dryed in a short time. I really don't know much about wood refinishing, so not sure this is a really good thing to do. It just worked for me on the one pair of rosewood grips.
Rosewood and Cocobolo are problematic for taking top coat finishes period, as are other tropical woods.

As mentioned previously, they are naturally oily and will prohibit most finishes from setting up. You either have to put on a barrier coat of Shellac or Lacquer or degrease the surface with acetone and then quickly apply the finish.

I don't use an oil finish on the those woods, I prefer to wax them after polishing out the wood on a soft buffing wheel at a medium/low speed.

The rule of thumb for any Linseed based oil finish is you can't be in a hurry. I've had a set of grips take 3 weeks for the oil to fully harden, heat lamp and all... seems like the stuff will dry/harden only when it's good and ready.

Adding a few drops of Japan Drier does improve matters, it's also helpful to thin out the Tru-oil just a bit so it is easier to put on thin coats, which is the key, applying a thin coat after the previous one has dried completely.

You keep adding coats until you get the depth of finish that you want.

It's time consuming as all get out, but that is just the nature of a Linseed based oil.

A finish that I just tried out on a laminated rifle stock and a set of old style Herrett grips I'm refinishing is Minwax Wipe-On Poly.

It is a really thinned out mixture containing Polyurethane that is applied the same way as wipe on oil finish.

Polyurethane requires moisture in the air to cure, so it's great for areas with humidity.

I'm still making my mind up how I like it, it's only available in gloss or satin and I wish there was a middle of the road semi-gloss available.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:22 PM
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I never had good luck with that stuff and gave up on it years ago. There's so many other good finishes out there now I don't even consider try it again.
But if you can get it to dry, it certainly is convenient and more than a few people have used with excellent results.

The original Japan Drier had a heavy metal in it (lead or maybe cobalt?) and that was taken off the market. I don't know what the stuff now labled as Japan Drier has in it but it seems to work well w/some of the linseed top coatings I've used.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:23 PM
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I appreciate all the replies and helpful hints. I have a question and a mini-rant:

Question: How do you mix in the Japan Drier with the Tru-Oil? Shake the bottle?

Mini-rant: From the instructions on the bottle: "Allow to dry thoroughly -at least 2 hours." Whom do they think they're kidding?

Andy
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:26 PM
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Snowman, first thing you need to do is switch to Formby's "Traditional Tung Oil Finish", available in 16 oz. metal cans (or bigger), easily and securely resealable, and in "gloss" or "low gloss" finish. It is the same thing as TrueOil, but with fewer of these drying problems, and at a fraction of the price. You can also greatly vary the surface result by playing with the way you put it on. Wal-Mart always has it on hand. I've been using it for years now, and am totally pleased with it.

As for drying problems, they can also arise if you have not thoroughly cleaned your wood surface. Residual oil in an old surface can really louse the works up. Sometimes, even with a clean and fresh surface, the first coat needs to dry overnight or perhaps as long as 24 hours. After that, all coats dry fast.

I've found I can recoat in as little as 30 minutes, if I am trying to build it up. And if you do it this quickly, you can get by without roughening the surface. Otherwise, for the very smoothest finish, let each coat dry well, very lightly dull the surface with fine steel wool, and put on the next coat. Do not roughen it so much that you remove all of what you just put on.

To get the most dull possible finish, for the last coat, wipe on a thin coat with firm pressure. For glossy, wipe it on evenly but heavy. You can play with it this way and get all sorts of effects. I stick with Formby's, but I expect there are a number of furniture finishes which do the same thing.

40 years ago, in the ship building area of Hong Kong on the island below Victoria Peak, you should have seen all the traditional wooden Chinese sailing junks being built; some nearly 100 feet long and diesel powered hot rods. The finish being brushed on was always tung oil, hundreds of gallons of it. It's a great waterproofing sealer. Walking among 50 or 100 junks being built or just serviced, the smell was wonderful. Except for the occasional dead animal floating nearby. But believe me, they were not paying Birchwood Casey prices for tung oil. Nor will I. It's a great product, but far too expensive for what you get.
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:59 PM
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Default Quick dry tru oil

When your get ready to apply the tru oil, put some armor all on the stocks/wood first. Just dampen the wood, then rub the tru oil on the wood. The mixture will start to start to thicken as you work the tru oil in. After a couple of minutes the mixture will start to set, not hard but you will feel the diffenence. Set it aside and it will set up in 30 minutes or so. You can add coates as soon as it dries. You can steel wool(0000) between coats and the finish will soon begin to fill the wood grain. Continue until you get the finish you want. You can knock the luster down with 0000, or leave it glossy. The finish will dry like varnish. If you don't like what you got, put the grips in acetone, strip it all off and start over. This stuff is very easy to work with. This works excellent for grips/stocks. There is a lot of print about this method. Go to rimfirecentral.com and under search type in tru oil Armor All. You will find quite a few posts on this subject. More than I have covered here.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:15 PM
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After reading this, I wonder if I'm doing something wrong with Tru Oil. I've refinished at least a dozen sets of handgun grips and it always worked great for me. I just rub it in with my finger, rubbing really fast until I feel real heat from the friction and let it sit for an hour or so, or overnight. Then I do it again and again until I have the finish I want. Usually that means 30 coats, mostly at first to fill the pores and then get the nice finish.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:58 PM
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That is exactly why I now use 100% Tung Oil. It dries thoroughly overnight and gives very nice results. You can also vary the gloss of the finish by using 0000 steel wool if a more satin finish is desired. If your wood needs a touch up, no need to remove the old finish, just a quick going over with the steel wool and add another coat or two. Just make sure it's 100% Tung Oil, not mixed with varnish or other chemicals. By the way, a can of Tung Oil (since it is pure) will never go bad - nothing to separate or break down.
Love the stuff! Just did my CMP M1 Carbine stock and a vintage set of S&W stocks with the stuff.

chief38
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
I appreciate all the replies and helpful hints. I have a question and a mini-rant:

Question: How do you mix in the Japan Drier with the Tru-Oil? Shake the bottle?

Mini-rant: From the instructions on the bottle: "Allow to dry thoroughly -at least 2 hours." Whom do they think they're kidding?

Andy
Add the drier, close up tight and shake it real good. You must remember to shake the he11 out of it prior to everytime you use it as the drier wants to seperate. They are not kidding...when the Tru-oil is right it will dry in less than 2 hours with a little heat, like sitting near a woodstove. I have finished the hand rub coats and sprayed the final in one day on many stocks. The final spray has to dry overnight. That includes rubbing down with #0000 steel wool between the hand rubbed coats. Wipe down with a degreaser before the spray coat. It also helps to get a perfect finish with the spray if you run hot water over the can to warm it up good before you actually do the spray. Japan drier and a little heat is the key though when you are doing the hand rub coats. You can set it outside in the sun during the summer and get the same effect as the woodstove in the winter. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to rush it along, always better if you take whatever time{within reason} you need. Good luck.

Last edited by msinc; 02-05-2011 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:09 AM
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If you are in a sunny area just leave them outside in the sun when you go to work. Come home and hit it with the steel wool and apply the next coat then put them back outside the next morning before you leave.
Here is a set of k frame targets that were done in the described method. About 8-10 coats of tru oil.


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Old 02-08-2011, 12:07 AM
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My experience with Truoi is that it gives a very nice surface finish but is not hard. Three sets of grips that I finished decades ago still get impressions if stored in a case with foam pressing against the surface. Most of the impressions can be smoothed out with rubbing compond I now use Minwax spray poly with drys much harder and still looks good. What a disapontment to have a nice project get impressions and surface blemish from just sitting in a gin case.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:35 PM
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After reading some of the posts I now know why there are so many !@#$ grips out there. I've seen NOS grips sell for less that the shinny improperly refinished ones. Tru - Oil works great it just takes long to get results, but the best things in life take a long time to mature(?). It's just like anything else these days where someone will buy something then customize it to their liking (in other words ruin it) and then selling it off to fund another custom masterpiece that they will eventually sell. Don't get me wrong I've seen some really nice work done by a few members here, this doesn't apply to them.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:19 PM
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I don't many people here do anything to grips that are in good shape. Most grip refitting is done to grips that have already been ruined/used by someone else. The pair I show above was half way stripped by the time I got them. I have other presentation grips where someone wanted to turn them into finger grove grips. Most of the people that messed with the grips did some a couple of decades ago when rubbers were in. We renown the stuff that is found in the junk boxes at gun shops with plenty of wear.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:23 PM
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I had 2 .22 rifles, stipped them both. put Tru-oil on one and Formbys Tung oil on the other. I like the way tung oil penetrated, dried quickly, no sticky. Both were water proof when at the range in the rain and snow. I prefer the tung oil. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:13 PM
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Default I've used Tru-Oil, and prefer other stuff

My favorite is Arrow Wood Finish, sold by Shooter Solutions. I bought a 4 oz. bottle at a gun show and have now used it on one walnut rifle stock, 3 sets of walnut handgun stocks, and 2 sets of cocobolo handgun stocks. You rub it in with fine (400-800) sandpaper to fill the pores and then hand rub a few coats. You can get anything from a glossy poly look to a nice satin "oil" finish look depending on what grit you use for the final coats. It seems to be pretty durable and I was able to put a new coat on once a day. It's also really easy to touch up if you scuff or scratch the finish. I also like that it doesn't have the "chemically" smell of Tru-Oil. Oh, after all that, I've still got more than half of my little 4 oz. bottle left, so it goes a long way. Hope this helps.

Patrick



These are cocobolo N frame stocks of my own design, finished to 800 grit with the Arrow.

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:05 PM
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I don't mean to thread-jack but after much playing around I've started using MINWAX Wipe-On Poly. Gives a nice finish that can go from minimal (rubbed oil) to high gloss. My problem is it can be a bit too "slippery" for some of my shooting disciplines. What has a good finish but "grabs your hand" for competitions where you want a heavy recoiling gun to absolutely not move in your hand?
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:30 PM
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I like Tru-Oil , but have usually thinned it a bit before using it on harder woods that have been previously finished. It seems to soak in deeper and dry better. If ya have a gas oven , put the grips in overnite with just the warmth of the pilot light.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:54 PM
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Try a product called Velvet Oil, made in Wisconsin.Available in many woodworking supply stores.I use it professionally, on high end custom furniture and really like the results. Any questions-contact me by e-mail.kestrelrh@gmail.com
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:55 PM
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Well, thanks again to all who have responded. I've not done much wood finishing in my life, and so am largely dependent on experienced people.

I chose Tru Oil after reading a couple of other threads here in which virtually every participant sang its praises. Wouldn't you know it; I buy some and start to use the stuff and run into several veterans of stock finishing who don't recommend it. Oh well; when we have tens of thousands of members, that's the way it will be, I guess.

I could get some Tung Oil, but I very seriously doubt that I'll be doing much more finishing. Anything I would buy would likely just sit on the shelf the rest of my days with little of it used. If it's available in just a few ounces, as the Tru Oil is, I might be more interested.

I'm not super picky about how the finish looks; I just know that I prefer a glossier surface, not just because I like the look of it better, but more importantly because I can grip it better. I had a satin-finished Hogue wood grip on a 686 for awhile, but it is just too slippery for me; I was afraid I would drop it someday at the range, which wouldn't be good at all. The S&W checkered grips would solve this problem, but I don't like checkering on a revolver grip. That's why I've been replacing all of them with smooth targets.

Listen to this: one of the posters here said that he called Birchwood Casey and they recommended adding Japan Drier to Tru Oil to help with the drying issue. Out of curiosity I just called them a little bit ago, and the person I talked to said that that wouldn't work, because Tru Oil is a water-based finish!!! In a good-natured voice I said, "Oh, so the name is misleading(Tru-Oil). I also read the label back to the person: "Its unique blend of linseed and natural oils dries fast..." She nevertheless insisted that it is a water-based product. What do you think about that? I was going to get some Japan Drier this evening, but now I'm not so sure. However I can't help but think the lady on the phone was mistaken.

This sure makes being a consumer frustrating; but if that is the worst problem I have today, I will count my blessings.

Thanks again, friends. I'll review all your suggestions again, and I'm sure something will work for me.
Andy

Last edited by snowman; 02-15-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:30 PM
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This same thread ran thru the Shotgun message boards 10 yrs ago. I see not much has changed. What I learned then was that tru-oil doesn't keep well, ie once its opened the driers evaporate. The best solution was to use it once and throw it away. problem solved ( in most cases). Others like me who hate to waste things (read cheap here), found ways to fill the bottle back to the top, keeping the air out and driers in. Take most any inert material that will go thru the top of the bottle and add it to the tru-oil to bring the level back up to the top. One guy used marbles, others used nuts, bolts, empty brass shells ... you get the picture. Make sure they are clean. The Japan drier was mentioned but I could never find any, and most places I asked looked at me like I was crazy.

I use the "add stuff to the bottle" method and have no problems with drying in two hrs.


Charlie
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:32 AM
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I always use Formby's tung oil. You gotta get all the original finish off. It usually dries in 12 hours so I let it set for 24 hours between coats, using fine steel wool between coats as well. If you don't dig the glossy look hit it with the steel wool after the last coat dries for a satiny finish.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:10 AM
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I have refinished hundreds of rifle/shotgun & handgun stocks through the years, as well as hundreds of pieces of antiques.
I have never known anything to speed the drying time of any varnish-type finish faster than sunshine and a natural breeze.
Even a fan induced breeze indoors can't come close.
Just one more thing Mommy Nature can't be beat at!
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